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Squeezing the last dollar out of the demo heap

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David Bahm has made a habit of harvesting the last ounce of value out of virtually everything the Kansas-based company he heads comes in contact with.

“We are normally able to process our demolition sites at a rate of 95-percent recovery through recycling, re-useable, and reprocessing,” Bahm, president and owner of Bahm Companies, calculates. “We maximize our ability to recover useable product that enables us to obtain a positive return on investment (ROI),” he explains.

Bahm’s business, which now counts several facilities, has branched out from its original roots as a demolition/contractor operation by developing systems that employ the most up-to-date equipment to process and recycle an expanding range of products.

“We continue to look for new ways to process and recycle everything we buy whether it is through demolition or through our recycling
facilities,” Bahm says.

The structure the company is currently tearing down serves as a prime example of Bahm’s approach. “This building was built in 1882 by the Santa Fe Railroad,” he shares the project’s background. “It is made of hand-cut stone.

“We have already sold 1,000 tons of the 7,000 tons to a facility in Texas that we designed,” Bahm explains. “The building is utilizing this stone and some trusses we had on hand at our commercial salvage yard,” he notes.

Bahm currently operates a salvage yard in Silver Lake, Kan., and the Greenpoint C&D Processing Center in Topeka.

“We started in the recycling business, but saw opportunities in C&D (construction and demolition) through the LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program,” he recalls. “We began bringing in trash, shingles from roofers, put in a tub grinder for the wood pallets, found a market for bricks from the demolished buildings, and found through separating all of this type of material, there is a solid market for resale.

“Several years ago we purchased a crushing machine for the concrete and after separating through the grizzly, are able to sell the
stone to contractors throughout the area,” he added. Included in this division are various pavers, crushed limestone, asphalt millings, and new-wash-rock-quarry.

In the process of expanding, Bahm also found a significant amount of useable materials, which he refers to as commercial salvage. Items that fall in this category range from complete buildings and light poles, to water solar panels, and Santa Fe rail wagons. A separate yard is used to store this type of material.

As Bahm continues to search for new processing approaches and equipment, he has identified the need to establish an equipment-for-sale facility to transform old equipment into cash.

And he doesn’t plan to stop there. Coming soon will be what he refers to as an architectural salvage operation, a business which involves taking historical items such as old wooden beams and incorporating them into fashionable new buildings with his own designs.


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